Inequalities in the use of helmets by race and payer status among pediatric cyclists.
BACKGROUND: Despite nationwide campaigns to increase the use of helmets among pediatric cyclists, many children continue to be injured while riding without a helmet. To determine where programs and policies intended to promote helmet use should be directed, we surveyed a large national dataset to identify variables associated with helmet use. METHODS: The National Trauma Data Bank was queried during the years 2007, 2010, and 2011 for children younger than the age of 16 years who were involved in a bicycle accident. Children were grouped based on whether they had a helmet on during the accident. A multivariable logistic mixed-effects model was utilized to determine factors associated with helmet use. RESULTS: Of the 7,678 children included in the analysis, 1,695 (22.1%) were wearing a helmet during their accident. On unadjusted analysis, nonhelmeted riders were more likely to be older (median age 11 years vs 10 years, P < .001), black (10.1% vs 3.7%, P < .001) or insured by Medicaid (32.8% vs 14.3%, P < .001). After adjustment, black children were still less likely to have had worn a helmet compared with white children (adjusted odds ratio 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.28-0.50). Children on Medicaid were also less likely to have been wearing a helmet compared to children with private insurance (adjusted odds ratio 0.33, 95% confidence interval 0.28-0.39). CONCLUSION: Children who are black or who are on Medicaid are less likely to be wearing a helmet when involved in a bicycle accident than white children or children with private insurance, respectively. Future efforts to promote helmet use should be directed towards these groups.
Gulack, BC; Englum, BR; Rialon, KL; Talbot, LJ; Keenan, JE; Rice, HE; Scarborough, JE; Adibe, OO
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